Hundreds of families, business professionals, and out-of-towners showed up at the Houston Street and Kress Building parking lot to attend Centro San Antonio’s big pachanga Thursday – the official unveiling of a new downtown brand for San Antonio.
A mix of colors, symbols, and designs were interspersed throughout the space to showcase a cohesive theme. Free shirts, pins, and prints were handed out to attendees so they could familiarize themselves with the new logo: a mix of a rose and compass design, with two distinct swirls highlighting the intertwined letters “S” and “A” to symbolize San Antonio.
Centro SA staff played a short video for the audience that featured elements of the logo and the overall brand in different parts of the city.
“(The logo) ties us back to the history but it’s also completely new,” said Centro Director of Marketing and Events Eddie Romero. “It’s a collective whole that’s made up of separate parts and unique elements. It’s a compass pointing us north, it takes nods of many visual elements of our city.”
Romero added that Centro SA will activate the brand in many ways in years to come and that it aims to create a whole new level of awareness of how the city looks. The effort will include murals, apparel, and even a new website, which will allow residents to share their pride, opinions, and input on downtown’s key issues and offers a platform to tell the stories of the city in a unique and collective way.
“I think the logo has very beautiful and attractive colors, and I’m sure that will make the brand grow,” said San Antonio local Adam Ortiz. “In the past, I almost never came downtown, but now I come here more. I’ve noticed a more business network environment blossom and it has certainly become more friendly and welcoming.”
As for the festivities, a man in stilts, brightly colored performers from Urban 15, dogs in hats, and even the Spurs Coyote made an appearance. Tables and chairs dotted the surrounding area of the stage so people could sit and enjoy refreshments from food trucks and drink stands as they watched performances onstage from DJ Donnie Dee, Volcán, and more.
“I see a lot of energy, this is really a great celebration of downtown and it’s bigger than what I thought it would be,” said TechBloc CEO David Heard. “We need more events and reasons to celebrate downtown, and we need to do more of that as a city.”
A big part of the crowd Thursday had walked over from the Majestic Theater, after attending Centro’s 2016 Centropolitan Awards, where philanthropist Rosemary Kowalski and Mark Penner of local men’s clothing store Penner’s, received lifetime achievement awards.
“The lifetime award honorees were very inspiring,” said Pearl Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Fauerso, who attended the awards as well as the brand launch. “When we think of progress for the sake of progress, it’s really about building on what we already have, and the lifetime honorees from tonight are foundational members (of the city) that stayed the course, which made it extra special.”
To see the full list of award recipients and honorees from this year’s Centropolitan Awards, click here.
“This new brand is about empowering you,” Centro San Antonio President and CEO Pat DiGiovanni told the audience. “This is your city. Collectively our story is a good one, it has been and continues to be driven by innovation, creativity, and passion.”
DiGiovanni told the crowd that the reason for rolling out the new brand is that “the city is on fire – it’s electric.”
“We’ve made huge strides in San Antonio in lifestyle options, future projects like the San Pedro Creek and the Zona Cultural, Hemisfair Park, and the World Heritage Designation,” he added. “We’re on the global map folks, because of our Missions.”
DiGiovanni also mentioned the Pearl, the soon-to-be Lone Star Brewery, new housing options, and the emerging tech district as components of the evident progress in the city.
“We’re celebrating what the city’s about tonight,” Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) said. “We’re starting by branding our city, our downtown, and celebrating things like our culture, our history, all the great innovation in our tech industry, the great trailblazers in the culinary world – and I would say we’re also innovating in design. Look at this great new brand. This is something we could all follow, it’s a truly beautiful and amazing story. Let’s all get behind this and celebrate tonight.”
Arlene Yammine, a woman visiting from New York City, told the Rivard Report that she observed a lot of diversity at the brand launch, as well as a very vibrant and trendy atmosphere.
“Tonight I feel like this is a mini New York City, it’s smaller of course, but the energy and vibe is there,” Yammine said.
Many young people at the event took to social media to express their thoughts about the new brand, and two screens next to the center stage projected live Instagram photos and tweets from attendees posting about the festivities.
“The colors are on point for San Antonio,” said attendee Gerry Diaz. “I see the synergy, and the colors, and the culture. I also like that I can see some of the people that I know on the screens.”
“There’s one thing that has always been true about San Antonio, and that is that we are a community of doers,” she said. “We roll up our sleeves and we work hard today to build a prosperous future. Movements like TechBloc, SA2020, and this brand launch this evening – those types of initiatives represent our collective passion and energy for continuous improvement and progress.”
Top image: The new brand launch drew hundreds of people to the San Antonio downtown core. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.